The 7 Emotional Stages Of Getting Dressed For A Tinder Date Because Online Dating Hasn't Made Things Easier
Gone are the days of meeting your new infatuation while waiting for the elevator or while browsing the gin aisle at the grocery store. It's all about finding love online now. There's no cute accidentally-but-totally-on-purpose bumping of carts, or caught glances and shy hellos while waiting for elevator doors to open. That's the stuff of rom-coms, not real life. The majority of us are now finding our dates via a swipe to the right or the left and it has changed the dating field and how we war our way across it. While the newly detached way has its pros (like having the luxury to cringe into a pillow as you get shot down, argh) it also has its drawbacks.
One of which is that the first impression has yet to be made. Sure you've already seen each other through the perfectly angled profile pictures, but the nice thing about meeting in the gin aisle at a grocery store is that that first impression is already out there. It's been made, and made completely on the fly. He or she has seen you laugh, has seen you flustered or smooth, has seen the way you move, and the way you dress. And they liked it. Of course they liked it or else you wouldn't be rushing home to get all dolled up this evening.
But now? Now that first impression is just hanging there, waiting to be either won or flunked. Weighing on you until you start forming little knots and butterflies. And now that you have all that extra anxiety to work with, the pre-date rituals have a little more oomph in the nervous department. And the main cause of stress? Exactly what to wear on the first date.
Should you go flirty and dressed to impress, or should you keep it casual and not try too hard? Should you wear perfume, a new dress, your favorite jeans, a top knot, or loose waves? So. Much. To. Consider. Trust me, I know your pain. Below are the seven emotional stages of getting dressed for a Tinder date, from the highs to the lowly lows.
1. The "convincing yourself you don't want to go anymore" stage
If you're anything like me, then you've been looking forward to this date all week right up until it's go-time. Once the hour strikes seven and you have an hour to get ready, the prospect of an evening out has lost all its charm. Instead you're lying on the couch, cozy in your sweats, and watching a Frasier re-run, trying to think of reasons to stay home.
"Eh, I'll probably have to pay for my own beer anyway. And that can be grocery money. Think of all the quinoa I could buy."
"Do I really feel like talking today? We'll probably just stare at each other for an hour till I shut things down to go feed my beta fish."
You burrow deeper into the couch, scowling at the TV as you will yourself to move. As protest, you flip the pillow to the cooler side.
2. The "to try or not to try" stage
Aziz Ansari has this one great joke where he correctly points out that, since we're constantly plugged in and connected, we don't really care about making connections.
Back in the day, you'd have to sit in front of your landline, hoping a date would come through Friday night. And once said date was penciled in, you would treasure that appointment. You would move heaven and hell to keep that dinner date, and the only reason you would not show up was because you were dead. You flat-lined in the cab and now you are dead. That's it.
But now? You could literally get a willing person whenever. Just keep swiping till you get a bite. Because of that, you don't quite have the same level of enthusiasm over the meet-up.
Once you actually persuaded yourself to turn off the TV, you're now standing in front of your closet, hands on your hips, eyes narrowed. Now what? First date outfits are always tricky: They depend completely on your mood. If you're feeling excited and ready to flirt, something special is going to get picked out. If you're feeling cranky and already wishing you could be snuggling up with some vague, mid-season-cancelled BBC show and your stuffed bear... something else might get picked. Like, you know, baggy boyfriend jeans and a sweater.
You stare at the options, wondering which way you'll go.
3. The "which face am I wearing tonight?" stage
Not only do you have to figure out your mood, you have to figure out what your impression is going to be. That moment he spots you walking into the bar door will be the first glimpse he'll get of you. And an idea of the type of person you are will already start forming.
So how do you want to come across? As a classic, graceful woman? As a down-to-earth, easy-going lady? Then, side-eying your sweatpants... as a shlub? Decisions, decisions.
4. The "I'm Beyoncé" stage
Completely rooted at the spot with the daunting task of choosing a persona for the evening, you decide you need the encouraging and wise words of Queen Bey. So "Flawless" comes on, a few hair whips take motion, and you're all of a sudden embodying Sasha Fierce, forgetting the sweatpants and now eyeing that bodycon dress you wore five years ago to your 21st birthday. Things are about to go down.
You may or may not get hurt when they do.
5. The "I'm not Beyoncé" stage
You're now sitting on the floor, your back propped against your bed, drinking a glass of wine, the bodycon dress a crumpled and broken heap by your foot. You nearly had to take out the scissors to free yourself from its Spandex-strength confines, and nearly knocked over a lamp as the fight freedom raged on. Sending it a dark look over the rim of your glass, you take another gulp of wine. Stupid 21-year-old body; did you not know what Cheetos were back then? I don't understand. Taking another gulp, you look back up at your closet as the available options (appropriately) change from Beyoncé world-tour minis to Lorelai Gilmore jeans and sweater combos.
Sasha Fierce has left the building.
6. The "let's coordinate outfits" stage
On the verge of giving yourself a stress migraine, you admit defeat and text your date. "I'm just going to wear a sweater and jeans tonight, hope that's OK for this bar!"
You bite your lip, already regretting the decision. First dates. Hate them. Why do you let yourself do them. You know what, no. Just cancel. I mean, you already have a bottle of wine open, you can put on Bey again and go destroy another dress you're never going to wear and...
Oh, he texted back.
"I was just going to wear a V-neck anyway so let's be unimpressive together? :)"
You bite your lip as you try not to smile. You've found him. Your sloth-counterpart. All is not lost.
7. The "psh, this was nothing" stage
You're now on the bus, in the cab, already sitting on the bar stool — whichever — and you're feeling good. The butterflies are doing their best to try and drown you, but you kind of like them. They feel kind of exciting, kind of happy. You order a beer, enjoying the din and hub of the bar, smiling at the pitch of laughter and trying your hardest not to glance at the door for the tenth time.
Then you see him. He walks in. Spots you. Smiles. And you forget what you're wearing and settle in for a good time.
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